Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do You Love It, Or What?!

Remember all that money and weapons that couldn’t be accounted for in Iraq? A bunch of agencies including the Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been looking into these discrepancies. This morning the New York Times reported that officials from these agencies said “the missing money and matériel amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.” And get this: a senior American officer being investigated worked closely with General David Petraeus when Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping iraqis forces in 2004 and 2005. Of course the NYT made sure to say, “There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by General Petraeus.” But guess what Petraeus’s response is. Petraeus said the Iraqi’s were ill equipped and having to deal with mounting violence, so he decided not to wait for formal tracking systems to be put in place. “The imperative to provide weapons to Iraqis was more important than maintaining impeccable records,” Petraeus said. WHAT? I mean, WHAT? Sounds like wrongdoing to me. Petraeus is the man who next month is going to decide the future of American soldiers in Iraq. This is the man who is going to say that President George Bush’s ego-war in Iraq must be fought until the last American soldier is dead. This is the man who will lie and claim that President George Bush’s puny and irresponsible little surge is making progress. And this asshole decided that knowing where money and arms were ending up in Iraq was not important. Back when Petraeus was in charge of disbursing cash to Iraqis, American contractors were told to turn up with big duffel bags to pick up their payments. Some were paid from the back of pick-up trucks. Cash was loaded onto giant pallets for shipment by plane to Iraq, and paid out to contractors who carried it away in duffel bags, for God’s sake. Back when Petraeus was in charge of disbursing weapons to Iraqis, 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols were mislaid. But Petraeus says he didn't think knowing where they had ended up was important. “We made a decision to arm guys who wanted to fight for their country,” Petraeus says. And once again the underlings are going to get rounded up and frog-marched to the hoosegow. According to the NYT: “part of the criminal investigation is focused on Lt. Col. Levonda Joey Selph, who reported directly to General Petraeus and worked closely with him in setting up the logistics operation for what were then the fledgling Iraqi security forces.” Another let me get this straight moment: We’re blaming the Maliki government for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq even though the Bush administration set up the Maliki puppet government and anointed it as the great hope for Iraq. Then General Petraeus doled out arms and money from the backs of trucks with never a thought that the stuff would get into the wrong hands. So now that nearly everyone George W. Bush has ever had confidence in has resigned under a cloud and/or is involved in some nefarious sexual assignation, we have put the fate of American soldiers in Iraq in the hands of George Bush and General Petraeus. Is that about the size of it? It is interesting though isn’t it, that this stuff about Petraeus’s malfeasance is suddenly getting attention just when he’s preparing to be center stage and handing out more baloney about Iraq.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzalez Just Resigned!

So much for being backed to the hilt by George W. Bush and his fascists! The Prez bowed to the overwhelming chorus from voters and from Congress and canned his kiss-ass Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday. On Saturday Bush said, regarding Iraq, “We are still in the early stages of our new operations.” Right! And Alberto Gonzales will never resign. Bush may be listening to no one but the delusions in his head. But apparently no one is listening to George W. Bush. Look for a pull-out of American troops from Iraq to begin before Thanksgiving. And by the bye, CNN is saying that Gonzales getting the ax came as a surprise to Republican insiders. Are you fucking kidding me? US News & World Report reported the following on August 26, titled, “Maybe Trading Up Soon at Justice”: “The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he's got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.” Gonzales was ordered to resign last Friday and he did so by telephone. The Bush PR machine geared up and decided not to release the news until Monday. Gonzales and his wife had a little face time with the Prez on Sunday. Bullshit me not about Repubs not knowing. They not only knew, they demanded that Bush fire Gonzales and Bush fired Gonzales. Resigned? Don’t be foolish! And in addition, the Bush administration has been grooming (or trying to groom) Chertoff for months for the AG job. In addition to that addition, the Democrats have been fully aware for months about this Gonzales choreographed departure and that Chertoff would be nominated as his replacement. So let’s get real about how all this is done. At least it’s been done. And just so you’re clear regarding my feelings about this news. Gonzales is an asshole flunky thug. Deaths-head Chertoff may be the worst nominee the Bush administration could put forward. Chertoff is a Bush administration whiny ninny flunky.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Congress Gets Wined and Dined In Baghdad

The New York Times reports this morning, “On a Sunday morning in early August, just hours after Congress had recessed for the summer, Representative Jan Schakowsky and five of her colleagues boarded a military jet at Andrews Air Force Base. Three flights and a Black Hawk helicopter ride later, they were lunching on asparagus soup and lobster tortellini at the home of Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker in Baghdad. “’It was a lovely lunch, a nice-napkin lunch,’ said Ms. Schakowsky, a liberal Democrat and ardent war critic from Chicago.” Like any PR event anywhere, it was a dandy little vacation for these members of Congress. And like any PR event, it didn’t cost the Congresspersons a dime since it was billed to American taxpayers. And also, like any other PR event, the purpose of the trip was to twist the arms of influential people so that they would support a venture, a group, or an idea. These trips for Congressional delegations are highly choreographed affairs known as codels, the NYT says. They are “an annual rite of summer for lawmakers...Roughly 50 lawmakers have tromped through Iraq this summer, and their impressions are having a profound effect on the debate.” Apparently the PR blitz is working. After hearing featured guest Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American military commander in Iraq give his spiel Representative Brian Baird of Washington, an early opponent of the war, has changed his mind. He now supports the war. And it’s good practice for Petraeus who will deliver another bullshit spiel to Americans in September telling us that we’re making progress in Iraq and that we have to stay there forever. The NYT article is titled: “Hear a General, Hug a Sheik: Congress Visits Iraq”. The whole idea of the Bush administration promoting its unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq as though it were a C-list movie is so ugly and crass it would be unbelievable if these trips were not promotion events sponsored by the Bush administration. American soldiers being killed in Iraq is just background noise from a bunch of extras as far as General Petraeus and the Bush administration is concerned. The main point is that the biggest mistake ever made in United States history needs to be promoted or Republicans are out of their jobs. And that is what Ambassador Crocker, the Bush administration and warmongering generals are going to do...whatever it takes. And whatever it takes includes “nice-napkin” lunches in Baghdad while our guys die. There are no words to describe how offensive, ugly, corrupt, distasteful and ghastly these PR trips to Baghdad are. HAVE THESE MEN NO SHAME?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Will Crazy George Listen?

The LA Times this morning says, “The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.” The New York Times this morning quotes Senator John Warner (R-VA) saying: “President Bush should start bringing home some troops by Christmas to show the Baghdad government that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended.” The NYT added, “The move puts John Warner, a former Navy secretary and one-time chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, at odds with the president, who says conditions on the ground should dictate deployments.” Of course our delusional president won’t listen to anyone. That’s a given. But a better question is: What would make George Bush listen to anything other than the voice of God he says he hears and obeys? Right now, it suits the GOP to pretend that George Bush is at the helm of our ship of state and to pretend that the president knows what he’s doing when he insists the United States must stay in Iraq until the next millennium. But since the futures of all Republican Senators depend on the puppet in the White House changing his mind, it’s a challenge for the most creative mind to come up with a scenario for that event. Because George W. Bush has so many mental disabilities (that is, delusions, narcissism, paranoia, debilitating anxiety, manic/depression and/or schizophrenia, mother-obsession, father-hate, addiction problems, sexual identity confusion, and distrust of psychiatrists and psychiatry), he is incapable of changing his mind or admitting he ever was wrong. The Bush handlers had thought that staying in Iraq would be an issue that would resonate with voters. The opposite has turned out to be true. But it never occurred to the Bush administration that Crazy George would be called on to change his mind before leaving office. When a robot has not been equipped with any command other than “forward”, what do you do if you want the robot to stop? 1) You let it go forward until its batteries die. 2) You let it destroy itself by running into a wall. 3) You knock it over. It looks like the Bush handlers have opted for solution No. 2.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Forget the US Attacked Iraq Ploy

We’ve been told that the blame game is not productive regarding Iraq. We’ve been told that we need to focus on supporting our troops and winning the war. We’ve been told that yammering about who got us into this war is not going to solve the problems the US now has because it is in this war in Iraq. Here’s the lede paragraph in this morning’s New York Times article, "'Free Iraq' Is Within Reach, Bush Declares": “President Bush delivered a rousing defense of his Iraq policy on Wednesday, telling a group of veterans that ‘a free Iraq’ is within reach and warning that if Americans succumb to ‘the allure of retreat,’ they will witness death and suffering of the sort not seen since the Vietnam War.” That is why the high-toned injunction against blaming the Bush administration for the war is ridiculous. The Bush administration has now wiped from its memory banks the fact that it caused the situation in Iraq and the Bush administration is currently working on wiping from the world’s memory banks the fact that Iraq has already witnessed the kind of death and suffering that the Bush administration is insanely saying will happen in the future if we pull out. George W. Bush and the neocons in his administration lied and without benefit of a declaration of war by Congress, caused the US to senselessly and needlessly attack Iraq. Whether we stay in Iraq or leave today, the Iraqi’s have already witnessed death and suffering worse than the quagmire the US created in Vietnam. The death and suffering President Bush alludes to as being in the future has already happened. And it has already happened because idiots elected a warmongering puppet as president and allowed his handlers to start a war in Iraq. A Free Iraq is not within reach now or in 20 years and using American soldiers to fight and die in Iraq’s civil war (for which the Bush administration is also to blame and which the Bush administration claims is not gong on) for the next ten years will do nothing to lessen the death and suffering that Iraqis have already witnessed. It is not productive to forget that the greed, avarice and blood lust of the Bush administration fomented and caused the situation in Iraq. The Bush administration can do nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to lessen the death and suffering it started in Iraq. Now only the Iraqi people can stop it. The US can only lessen the death and suffering of Americans by making a firm deadline for getting out of Iraq and by starting that pullout immediately, Do not ever forget who started this war in Iraq. Do not ever forget that the Iraq War had nothing to do with bringing freedom or democracy to Iraq. Do not ever forget that the Bush administration lied in order to make war on Iraq. Do not ever forget that moment when Secretary of State Colin Powell stood in front of the UN and told bald-faced lies in order to start this war. The blame game is very productive. Because when Americans truly remember how this mess got started, they will put into motion the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their trial for war crimes can begin.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ratbang No Shit! Edition

The New York Times re the Space Shuttle Endeavor and it’s foam hole: “It has become increasingly clear that the shuttle’s design, which puts a huge external fuel tank insulated with foam above a fragile spacecraft, is fundamentally flawed.” A new CIA report says “the C.I.A. carried out no comprehensive analysis that put into context the threats received in the spring and summer of 2001.” Re Iraq, Maliki and George W. Bush, the NYT says, “Anyone who follows events in Iraq can plainly see the plan is not altogether working.” Re the Black Hawk helicopter that went down, killing 14 soldiers onboard, the Washington Post said, “Since the conflict began, 63 helicopters have gone down, including 36 struck by enemy fire. Over January and February of this year, seven military helicopters and one carrying private security contractors were taken down by insurgent fire, killing a total of 28 people. The incidents prompted the military to reevaluate flight plans and tactics used to prevent anti-aircraft fire.” The lawyer for million-dollar Atlanta Falcons quarterback, dog killer and liar Michael Vick said we should remember "Michael is a father, he's a son, he's a human being -- people oftentimes forget that." WaPo writer Sally Jenkins says, “Pardon, but if anybody forgot his humanity, it was Vick. Not us.” The LA Times says, “the credit crisis that has hit home mortgages and shaken worldwide financial markets is turning into a political albatross for President Bush and Republican presidential contenders, piling atop an unpopular war in Iraq and eroding traditional GOP claims of being good stewards of the economy.” Instead of getting into a fight, GOP pollster McHenry has some advice for members of his party: Shut up.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Frank Rich Tells Why Rove Bugged Out

Interestingly, in Frank Rich’s Op/Ed piece in the New York Times today, he not only pinpoints why Rove resigned, but he also identifies the reason most Democrats missed it. Rich says that no GOP candidate gave a tribute to Rove and “the conservative commentariat was often surprisingly harsh.” “It is this condemnation of Rove from his own ideological camp — not the Democrats' familiar litany about his corruption, polarizing partisanship, dirty tricks, etc. — that the White House and Mr. Rove wanted to bury in the August dog days.” And it was that condemnation from the right that “crystallized the monochromatic whiteness at the dark heart of Rovian Republicanism”, Rich said. The Republican Party may be overwhelmingly white as only a Rotary Club in 1954 could be white, Rich says, but the population of the United States is edging toward nonwhites being in the majority. The Republican Party, as exemplified by Karl Rove is an anachronism. It’s a relic. And the exquisite moment when this was shown to the world, Rich said, was George Allen's (R-VA) "macaca" moment a year ago. During Allen's re-election campaign, Allen not only insulted a campaign worker from Jim Webb's campaign by calling him a monkiey, but he welcomed him "to America" and to"the real world of Virginia". The incredible racism and arrogance of the GOP was caught on YouTube and it was played over and over and over. Just as the Republican Party’s whiteness is a relic, YouTube has made reinventing history in the print medium a relic. Rich credits Ryan Sager, a young conservative New York Sun commentator with giving the best description of the GOP: "The face of the Republican Party in Iowa is the face of a losing party, full of hatred toward immigrants, lust for government subsidies, and the demand that any Republican seeking the office of the presidency acknowledge that he's little more than Jesus Christ's running mate." “That face,” Rich says, “at once contemptuous and greedy and self-righteous, is Karl Rove's face. Unless someone in his party rolls out a revolutionary new product, it is indelible enough to serve as the Republican brand for a generation.” And that is why Rove had to go. The GOP sees its own face when it sees Karl Rove and that logo is not going to fly in 2008.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

So There’s This “Secret Court”

And this Secret Court has been asked by the American Civil Liberties Union to release a bunch of orders issued earlier in 2007 about the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program. And now, according to the Washington Post, this secret US intelligence court “has ordered the Bush administration to register its views about a records request by the American Civil Liberties Union”. WaPo says, “The move is highly unusual, because the court -- which approves warrants for electronic surveillance within the United States by intelligence and counterterrorism agencies -- operates in almost total secrecy and has made only one ruling public in its 29-year history.” That ruling was made public in 2002 when a new surveillance guideline proposed by the Justice Department was rejected by this court. But the court’s rejection was overturned later in 2002 by a special appeals court. And what are the chances that the ACLU will get the documents it has requested? Slim to none is David B. Rivkin, Jr.’s assessment. Rivkin was a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration and now is a partner at Baker Hostetler. Rivkin says it’s not clear whether the secret court has the authority to release documents over the objections of the executive branch. "The order is unusual, and the request is also unusual," Rivkin told WaPo. "But I would be amazed if that request were granted in the end." But the interesting thing is that the ACLU made its request and that the request is being taken seriously. The request in itself is very important. The request is as important as the result of the request. Every day more information comes to light about the Bush administration’s Injustice Department. Only when US voters realize how close the current administration is to being a Third Reich in the United States, can they make the changes necessary to return the United States of America to a democracy. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that, “Notes taken by Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. say that Attorney General John Ashcroft was ‘barely articulate,’ ‘feeble’ and ‘clearly stressed’ shortly after a hospital-room meeting in March 2004 in which two top White House aides tried to persuade him to sign an extension for eavesdropping on Americans without warrants...In providing corroboration for (former deputy attorney general James B. Comey) Mr. Comey’s version of events, Mr. Mueller’s typewritten entries served to rebut the suggestion of some Bush administration officials who have privately dismissed Mr. Comey’s account of the hospital standoff as an overwrought and one-sided description.” We are being flooded with information on the magnitude of malfeasance in the Bush administration and that is very good.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

AP Finally Gets Rumsfeld Letter

This morning, the Washington Post says the Associated Press had to make “multiple” Freedom of Information requests before getting to see former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation letter. The letter was sent on November 6, 2006. That was a day before the election that gave Congress to the Democrats. The letter is stamped “The President Has Seen” with a handwritten date “11/7/06. Election day. The Prez announced the resignation a day after the election. WaPo says, “Asked why the president did not announce Rumsfeld's resignation as soon as he learned of it (Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino) Perino said that Bush was wary of influencing the ongoing vote. "I know that one of the things that the president wanted to avoid was the appearance of trying to make this a political decision," she said. "And that was very important to him, and I think that the American people can appreciate not playing politics with such an important decision." Have you noticed how often the Bush flacks claim to be privy to the thoughts in the minds of the American people? They feel sure the American people “can appreciate”, “will understand”, “will support”, “feel strongly” and the like. When, in fact, the Repubs are clueless about the desires of the American people. Not only are they clueless, they have no desire to know what Americans think. They only want to pontificate on what they think Americans should think. But in the above instance, Perino is right. The American people do appreciate that playing politics on important decisions is a crummy tactic. And the American people believe it's a tactic that never should be used by leaders in government. Yet, while claiming not to play politics, the Prez was playing politics. The other most-used ploy in the Bush administration is to claim something that is false is true, and something that is true is false. The US doesn’t torture people. Yes, it does. There is no civil war in Iraq. Yes, there is. The surge in Iraq is working. No, it isn’t. Bush is not considering a draft. Yes, he is. The president does not routinely take prescription medicine. Of course he does. He couldn’t get through a day without his scrips, meds, and little pharmaceutical helpers. The thing that is very helpful, though, is knowing that whoever or whatever is programming the Prez is totally consistent. If the president makes a statement, the opposite always is true.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Which Campaign Has Hired Karl Rove?

That a latter-day Machiavelli like Karl Rove would putter around the house with his wife and 18-year-old son is a picture that won’t scan. In the first place, Karl Rove is not marriage oriented, to put it delicately. In the second place, Rove and his second wife and their son would have to be introduced to each other before they could have a...I’m searching for the phrase...relationship? No. Bond? No. Family life? God no! Convenient understanding? Maybe. I’m betting Rove will work sub-rosa for Romney. If Romney emerges as the candidate, Rove will officially announce his role. It’s not as though Rove needs to share ideologies or religion with his employer. Or that Rove even needs to have minimal knowledge about an employer’s business. Karl Rove will go where the money is. And he’s a quick study. But I believe Rove has a kingmaker addiction and I believe that jones must be fed. Giving up all those White House perks is a wrenching thought. It would make any politician weepy and emotional. And according to the press coverage yesterday, taking leave of all that power caused Karl Rover to tear up with sorrow. But life goes on and there are millions of dollars lying around in would-be candidates’ war chests. Whether Rove hooks up with Romney or not is arguable. But the idea that he will spend even five minutes with his or any family and away from hatching plots, scheming and threatening to destroy real or perceived enemies is ridiculous.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Don’t Get It! (Times 3)

1) This morning, the Associated Press tells us that the damaged tiles on the space shuttle Endeavour reveal that "a three-and-half-inch gouge penetrates all the way through thermal tiles on the shuttle's belly." And the Quote of the Day is from the chairman of the mission management team John Shannon, who said, "We have really prepared for exactly this case, since Columbia (the space shuttle that exploded during re-entry 20 years ago because of the same problem)...We have spent a lot of money in the program and a lot of time and a lot of people's efforts to be ready to handle exactly this case." I don’t get it! Why didn’t we spend a lot of money, time and effort to solve the problem, not spend a lot of money, time and effort in expectation of having the problem all over again? 2 An NYT editorial this morning calls China “irresponsible” for threatening to sell US dollars “which might lead to a mass depreciation of the US dollar... Such warnings may be an unsurprising response to some of the intemperate language coming from Capitol Hill. Nevertheless, they are playing with fire,” the NYT said. I don’t get it! Why is China irresponsible when it was the Bush administration that sold the United States, lock-stock-and-barrel, to China? From China’s point of view, it would be irresponsible not to threaten to sell US dollars. Who’s irresponsible? The Bush administration, of course, and once again. 3) George Bush’s political advisor and hatchet man Karl Rove says he’s stepping down on August 31 to “spend time with his family”. Rove’s words are a close second for Quote of the Week. "I just think it's time," Rove said. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family." Amidst the chorus of hahahahahahaha’s heard across the nation, one can only say, I Don’t Get It! What protects Rove as a private citizen? Can’t he be subpoenaed to testify now that he has no executive privilege protection? Or has Rove joined the Threaten Bush Club? Hmmmmm. I don’t get it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

General Ratbang Policies...BTW and FYI

You may have noticed, or not, that I don’t do back-and-forth dialogues with commenters. I say my piece and you say your piece and that’s it. However, my email address is available in my Profile and I have been known to respond to emails. Ergo, if you have a question in your comment, I won’t respond unless you have a blog with an email address in your Profile. And if your question is mean-spirited, silly or stooopid, I probably won’t respond by email either.

Friday, August 10, 2007

WaPo’s E.J. Dionne Explains It To You

An article in this morning’s Washington Post by E.J. Dionne, Jr., “Why the Democrats Caved”, tells the sad facts regarding the surveillance bill that the Dems joined with the Repubs to vote in last Saturday night. “Shortly before noon last Saturday, about 20 House Democrats huddled in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to decide what to do about a surveillance bill that had been dumped on them by the Senate before it left town. Many of the Democrats were furious,” Dionne said. “They believed they had negotiated in good faith with Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence. They sought to give the Bush administration the authority it needed to intercept communications involving foreign nationals in terrorism investigations while preserving some oversight.” However, the Bushies held the line re giving McConnell and Attorney General Gonzales more power, which restricted the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Dems lacked the votes to pass a bill more in line with House approvals and the Dems gave the Bushies what they wanted. Dionne went on to say, “At one point, according to participants in the Pelosi meeting, the passionate discussion veered toward the idea of standing up to the administration -- even at the risk of handing President Bush a chance to bash Democrats on ‘national security,’ as is his wont...Several members from swing districts -- including Reps. Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Patrick J. Murphy of Pennsylvania -- expressed openness to having Congress stay in town to fight if important constitutional issues were at stake.” The bill, according to David Wu (D-OR), “makes Alberto Gonzalez the sheriff, the judge and the jury.” Dionne says, “The episode was the culmination of a shameful era in which serious issues related to national security and civil liberties were debated in a climate of fear and intimidation, saturated by political calculation and the quest for short-term electoral advantage...Politically, Republicans won this round in two ways. They got the president the bill he wanted and, as a result, they created absolute fury in the Democratic base. Pelosi has received more than 200,000 e-mails of protest, according to an aide, for letting the bill go forward. “The entire display was disgraceful because an issue of such import should not be debated in a political pressure cooker. It's not even clear that new legislation was required; Holt, for one, believes many of the problems with handling interceptions involving foreign nationals are administrative in nature and that beefing up and reorganizing the staff around the FISA court might solve the outstanding problems.” Dionne quoted Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.): “What bothered me is that too many Democrats allowed that fear to turn into a demand for some atrocious legislation." “If legislation was needed,” Dionne said, “there were many ways to grant necessary authority while preserving real oversight. The Democrats got trapped, and they punted. The Republicans have never met a national security issue they're not willing to politicize. This is no way to run a superpower.” Well, first, the US is no longer a superpower. The Repubs have seen to that. And there have been plenty of mistakes on both sides of the aisle while the Bush administration stripped the United States of its good reputation and rendered it impotent. Articles like Dionne's show us clearly how the Dems give away the store due to Repub bullying and due to fear of losing votes. But the bottom line is that the winner of this less-than-super nation’s election in 2008 will be whichever political party can show it has learned from its mistakes.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Retired Colonel Weighs In on Tillman Case

This morning, the New York Times published an Op/Ed article by retired Colonel and MSNBC military analyst Jack Jacobs. After mentioning that his own units in Viet Nam were “occasionally victims of errant rifle fire, mortar rounds and bombs,” Colonel Jacobs says, “Sadly, Corporal Tillman’s death comes with another unhappy legacy: a ludicrous change in the Army regulation that deals with reporting casualties. With this change, the Army now requires a formal, independent investigation into the death of every American in a hostile area." In theory, Jacobs says, “The rule sounds commendable. Life is precious, and if one is cut short in combat then we owe the soldier and his family as full a report as possible. Having experienced more than enough combat, I understand this sentiment. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the motivating force behind the revised regulation. In my view, the provision is there for one reason and one reason alone: to put in place a protocol to prevent commanders from lying about the cause of their soldiers’ deaths.” And, what’s wrong with that? Jacobs asks. “Well, it’s beyond insidious", Jacobs says, "because it is an admission that the Army has determined it can’t trust anyone in the combat chain of command — that the actions of General Kensinger (Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr was responsible for the cover-up) are the rule, not the exception, and that this kind of malfeasance among soldiers is expected to be so common that it requires regular policing.” Dear Colonel Jacobs: The reason the military is expected to lie is because the Commander in Chief of the military, George W. Bush, lies every time he opens his mouth. And in addition to that fact, which is a verifiable fact, the commanders in the military under George W. Bush have continually lied about every aspect of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You see, Colonel Jacobs, the recent change in Army regulations has been occasioned by the fact that the executive branch of the United States government and the military always lie. Ergo, it is rightly assumed that as long as the military Commander-in-Chief is George W. Bush, lying and distorting the truth will be the modus operandi of every quote and every news release that comes out of the United States executive branch and/or the military. Colonel Jacobs ends his article by saying, “We don’t need better regulations. We need better leaders.” That is true, Colonel Jacobs. But the advent of the US getting better leaders is still far in the future and may not happen at all. Therefore, we have to rely on regulations.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What’s Wrong With Dems Fighting Terrorism?

If that were what was behind the Democrats joining the Repubs in Congress last weekend to approve eavesdropping without warrants on international communications, then there would surely be nothing wrong with it. Terrorism is a threat and it is not to be taken lightly. But that was not what was behind the Dems cave-in on a Bush administration policy that had always stuck in the Democrats' craw. The 16 Democrats who joined 43 Republicans (and one Indie) to approve the bill, 60 to 28, did so in order not to be perceived as being “soft on terrorism”. In other words, need we say, the Dems approved of George W. Bush’s further terrorism on Americans so that they would not lose votes. And do not sit there and correct me by saying this bill was about INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS. That is baloney! Any and all surveillance programs that are okayed by Congress will be used against American citizens no matter what the fine print says. And that is what was wrong with the Dems joining hands with the Repubs to approve this latest bill on surveillance. The Dems just sold out for votes.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Fact Is...

Opponents of the Bush administration’s unnecessary, undeclared and illegal war in Iraq are fond of pointing to the money spent, being spent and forecast for future spending, and listing all the things the money could and should have been spent on. The fact is, people being what we are--and we include Republicans, Democrats, Independents, all adherents of all religions and all races in the category of people. People being what we are, had there been no bogus war, the mega-bucks allocated for the war in Iraq would not have been spent on any of the worthy projects on the Wish List. In the United States, our Congress would never pass a bill for a worthwhile social project carrying a $2 trillion price tag, which is the new estimate for the cost of the Iraq war. Our Congress would never pass a bill for half the cost of the Iraq war even if it funded five social projects. It would never happen. And the reason it would never happen is that the people in the United States (those who vote) would never vote in favor of $2 trillion dollars being spent on ANYTHING unless we were threatened with the imminent demise of the world as we know it. So forget the unreal dreams of what could have been done with the money spent in Iraq. The only way the people in the US would demand that $2 trillion be spent on health care, children, education or on repairing our infrastructure is if the Bush administration threatened us with being destroyed by weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds if we didn’t allocate the money for worthy social programs. And hahahahahaha! Who would believe that?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Kiss of Death

President Bush is going to the bridge collapse site in Minneapolis/St. Paul today. So, let’s see...it’s been how many days since the disaster befell Minneapolis-St. Paul? Wednesday, Thursday, Friday...Saturday...um...four days. Although, the Prez did send his wife to have a look-see yesterday and to appear empathetic in his stead. She reported back that the scene was “unbelievable”. The Washington Post reported this morning, “President Bush, who is still criticized for his administration's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina, says he will stand with Minnesota residents as they recover from this week's bridge collapse.” SLUGGISH? How about DIDN’T GIVE A FUCK! On August 27, 2005, the President knew that Louisiana Governor Blanco had declared a State of Emergency. But the President went around the country flacking his Social Security plan and other policies and then he went on vacation. Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on August 29 and the Prez went to bed without doing a damn thing or responding to Governors’ and lawmakers’ pleas for help. On August 31, while returning from vacation in Air Force One, Bush made a half-hearted and half-assed flyover along the Gulf Coast to view the scene of devastation. And we know the rest of the story. New Orleans is still in a state of emergency two years later. And the Prez still doesn’t give a fuck except insofar as how his heartless indifference will look in history books. And because of that, the Prez is going to Minneapolis today. The New York Times reported this morning that “Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University, said the White House is 'so much on the defensive right now that I think their initial reaction was to say, "We just don't want to be blamed"...the president's role is to start the conversation by being above the blame, the finger-pointing,' Light said." The NYT went on to say, “In a radio address to be aired on Saturday but released by the White House on Friday, the president vowed to work closely with (Governor) Pawlenty and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak ‘to rebuild this bridge as quickly as possible’” “Perhaps even in time for the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul?” the NYT asked. But don’t expect the Prez to bust his ass to provide mega-bucks to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure across the US. The President’s concern for disaster victims is in the short-term only and it is the Kiss of Death as far as real and lasting aid being funded to solve America’s problems at home.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Who Said This?

“The government is continuing with its arrogance, refusing to change its stand, and has slammed shut the door to any meaningful reforms necessary for saving Iraq...We had hoped that the government would respond to these demands or at least acknowledge the failure of its policies, which led Iraq to a level of misery it had not seen in modern history. But its stand did not surprise us at all.” A quote from a diehard anti-war Democrat? No, That’s a quote from Rafaa al-Issawi, a member of the Sunni bloc in Iraq (the Iraqi Consensus Front) who railed against the Iraqi government yesterday. Pissed off and angry, Rafaa al-Issawi said that Prime Minister Maliki’s government refused to involve the Sunni bloc on important decisions and had even refused to show up for crisis talks. That is why, Issawi said, the bloc’s six cabinet ministers resigned yesterday. The six resignations included Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie. Although a spokesman for the Sunni bloc said the Iraqi Parliament’s 44 Sunni members would continue to participate. With regard to charges by Sunnis against Shiites and vice versa, Maliki said, "The policy of threats and blackmail is an unrewarding policy." No kidding! But it goes to show that Bush & Co. has exactly what it wanted in Iraq--a government just like ours. That is to say, a dysfunctional grid-locked government led by a bunch of politically motivated hacks. And, let it be noted, a bunch of politically motivated hacks who are going off to the seashore for a month of R&R: A government EXACTLY like ours. And more importantly, the Bush administration has a perfect scapegoat for why Iraq is in the mess it’s in: It’s Maliki’s fault. In addition, the Bush administration has bought and paid for high-level experts and officials who will repeat the Bush administration's cant, like: General David Petraeus, the current talking head who is so far up Bush’s ass his words come out of Bush’s mouth; Admiral Michael G. Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman nominee; Ryan C. Crocker, ambassador to Iraq. It is said, Petraeus is the President of the United States now, not Richard Cheney. But who knows? And does it make any difference who is calling the shots from the White House? The current batch of idiots in Congress are willing to support the Bush administration’s malfeasance and fascist modus operandi, and that is what is important. At any given moment, Congress could put a stop to the dictatorship passing as government in the United States and it has chosen not to. We, the people, are to blame for the government we the people have.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Oh! Those Hidden Agendas and Subtexts!

Yesterday, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, who is the nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US military efforts in Iraq would fail unless Iraqi leaders “did more to bring together the rival factions (Sunni and Shiite) dividing Iraq”. This morning at 6:30 ayem, the Associated Press filed the following short release from Baghdad: “Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, undermining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's efforts to seek reconciliation among the country's rival factions. “Violence continued unabated, with 17 civilians killed in a car bomb in central Baghdad and the U.S. military announcing the deaths of three American soldiers killed by a sophisticated, armor-piercing bomb. “Meanwhile, a fuel tanker exploded near a gas station in western Baghdad, killing at least 15 people and wounding 25, police said. The blast occurred around 2 p.m. in Mansour, a primarily Sunni neighborhood on the western side of the Iraqi capital.” That means the Maliki government is powerless to “do more”, which Mullen knew all the way along. At the same time, we’re hearing mega-hype bullshit about how July was the month with fewest US soldier deaths in Iraq in 2007. But the BIG STORY is that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates hustled themselves to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt to ratchet up support for Iraq and to foment mischief against Iran with leaders from Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. And get this for a subtext: The New York Times had a report on the statement issued by the Sharm El-Sheikh crew: “On Iran, the group’s statement included only a paragraph supporting ‘international diplomatic efforts’ aimed at reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, and “reiterated the rights of all the parties” to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to ‘use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.’” Translation according to the Bush administration definition of “nuclear ambitions” and “peaceful purposes”: No country can use nuclear arms to defend itself against US aggression. On the other hand, the US can nuke the hell out of any Middle East country because the desired result would be a peaceful takeover of the Middle East by the US. And by the way, although we heard that Gates/Rice met with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia “along with his national security deputies”, isn’t it odd that President Bush’s erstwhile close buddy Prince Bandar’s name was not mentioned. Even though, as far as I know, Bandar has been head of Saudi Arabia’s national security since 2005. Who or what is more slippery than who or what in the Middle East? Them or us? My take is that no matter how much the Bush administration covers itself in Middle East oil, it will never outcon or outsmart the lowest flunky born in the Middle East.